My faith was stretched to it’s limits six years ago when paying our tithing seemed to only result in greater financial difficulty. But the search for a cookie recipe in my diaper bag yielded a powerful and unexpected blessing! Here is the personal experience I shared in my Gospel Doctrine class today…
The Depressing Depressed Economy
About six years ago, in early December, we were feeling the financial effects of the depressed economy in a big way. Sunday was approaching and I knew we owed tithing. But I also had some bills that were almost past due and also needed to be paid. We had several clients who owed us money in an amount that would cover the bills. We chose to pay our bills before the end of the week deadline and pay our tithing on Sunday. We had faith that the money owed to us would arrive, early the following week, in time to cover the bills.
Monday came and no payments arrived. Tuesday came and still no payments. Several of our bills were submitted to their banks and our account became overdrawn. By Wednesday, we still did not receive any promised payments from our clients. By now we had accrued a substantial amount of overdraft fees and we were $500 in the red.
On Wednesday evening I drove to one of our client’s workplace to retrieve a promised check only to find out she had left early and didn’t leave a check for me. On Thursday, we still hadn’t received any payments and I tried contacting all of our clients to try and get paid. Many said, “the check is in the mail”. I was doing everything in my power to get the funds needed but was unsuccessful. I felt powerless and beyond frustrated! I went to Enrichment Night and listened to a wonderful sister give a lesson on overcoming adversity. I felt like she was talking directly to me and knew exactly what I needed to hear. Thankfully, I was wearing a hat and sitting in the back of the room because all I did was cry through the whole thing.
“NO, I will not give up!”
This was a pivotal moment for my faith. I had believed all my life that the Lord will bless you when you pay your tithing. And I’ve heard countless stories of other members who have received the needed money when they paid their tithing before their bills. I could’ve easily chosen to be frustrated with Heavenly Father and walked a road of bitterness. But somehow I mustered enough faith to choose not to curse God but to continue in humility and have faith that things would work out. I literally had to proclaim in my mind, “NO, I will not give up!”
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Miracle
Now it was Sunday afternoon and I was in serious need of some comfort food which could only be satisfied by one thing…chocolate chip cookies 🙂 Two weeks prior, a wonderful lady in my ward made some amazing chocolate chip cookies and gave them out in Relief Society. I made sure to ask her for the recipe. She knew it by heart so I wrote it down on a scrap piece of paper I had in my diaper bag. So on this Sunday afternoon I retrieved my diaper bag hoping to find the recipe.
As I dumped the contents of the large outside pocket of my diaper bag out onto our kitchen island, out came a few crumpled wrappers, old ward bulletins and a white envelope—but no cookie recipe. I did not recognize the white envelope and it had “The Bonillas” written on the outside. Gabe, Danielle and Tyler were in the room and driven by curiosity, came over to find out who the envelope was from.
I opened the envelope and found a note which read, “We felt inspired that you needed this money. We want to remain anonymous”. Some good family in our ward must have slipped the envelope into my diaper bag within the last two weeks without me knowing it. Folded up inside the note was $500. My hands began to shake and the tears began streaming down my cheeks. Danielle and Tyler came over to me and we all embraced in a group hug—all overcome with emotion. The Holy Ghost filled my soul and I felt compelled to testify to my two oldest children, “I want you to remember this moment for the rest of your lives…the love and generosity that has been shown to our family. Heavenly Father will bless us when we pay our tithing!”. I was so grateful we got to experience that moment together. It was powerful, humbling and testified of the goodness of God.
This experience truly stretched my faith beyond previous experience and testified that Heavenly Father can be very creative in the ways he blesses us as a result of our obedience to His law of tithing.
The Good, Better & Best Reasons to Pay Tithing
As I have continued to pay tithing over the years, I have concluded that there are three levels of motivation for paying tithing. The third level (Good) is to pay tithing out of obedience or merely following directions. The second level (Better) is to not only pay tithing out of obedience but with faith that we will receive blessings for paying it. The first level (Best) is to pay tithing out of gratitude. To pay tithing simply because we want to thank Heavenly Father for all he has blessed us with without expectation of a return.
I admit that it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I became aware that I was painfully paying tithing in hopes of the blessings I needed at the time. I have since tried to honestly and sincerely write my tithing check in a spirit of gratitude without a contingency list of needed blessings. I’m not perfect at it, but continually making the effort has made all the difference and brings peace to my heart.
Oh, and by the way, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.
My Tithing Infographic
Here is an infographic I designed to sum up my thoughts and explanation from my Gospel Doctrine lesson today. Feel free to ‘share’ or ‘pin’ it if you like…